Junior bowlers from Strike Zone Bowling Center are in the headlines this time. Many competed in the West Virginia State Youth Pepsi Championships at the Greenbrier Bowling Center in Lewisburg.

The event had open and handicap divisions. Bowlers competed on Challenge oil patterns. "Middle Road" was used Saturday and "WB Rome" on Sunday. Scholarship money was the prize and Strike Zone bowlers netted $1,350.

Allie Miles led the way for Strike Zone, winning U15 Girls handicap (740) and scratch (310) for two-game totals. Miles has qualified for the Junior Gold Championships scheduled July 13-20 in Detroit. Bella Deller was third in scratch (268).

In U10 Girls, Alexis Turner won handicap (709) and took second in scratch (346).

On the boys' side, Christian Carpenter placed first in U8 handicap (719) and second in scratch (312). Lane Turner was fourth in scratch (261). In U15, Ben Fischer tied for second in handicap (716). Casey Lusk was fifth and Sean Tabor seventh. In U17, Trenton Fuller was fifth in scratch.

Two of the coaches at Strike Zone are Kyle Arthur, the Men's Bowler of the Year last year for the Huntington USBC, and Ray Clarke. Seeing the progress the juniors make does them proud.

"Just being able to give back in any way is great, but to be able to give back in something you love and have passion for is hard to put into words," Arthur said. "Investing in these kids week after week, then watching them bust it to implement the advice we give them into their game is awesome to watch. When they do it and it works, just to see how excited they get and the huge smile they have on their face is just priceless. That's what it's all about."

In addition to helping juniors, Clarke is volunteer assistant coach for Ironton St. Joe's high school team.

"Watching these young bowlers develop and be successful makes me so proud of their accomplishments," Clarke said. "Being able to watch their reactions after they roll a strike, make a split or pick up a spare is well worth the time spent. Having someone come up to tell you they just bowled their high score or new high series is just an awesome feeling. These young people are the future, and not just in bowling, but of our country."

Clarke takes center stage for a tournament on May 19 at Strike Zone. It's the Clarke Family Memorial Youth Tournament. Handicap and scratch divisions and entries limited to 110 for both. Entry fee $45. More details to come.

HOT AT HOME: Juniors had it going in league play at Strike Zone. Mark Tabor shot 184-234-256 for 674 and Sean Tabor rolled 198-209-253 for 655. Sam Clay shot 189-210-217 for 616. Allie Miles had 198-213-188 for 599.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY EVENT: St. Patrick's Day Doubles Tournament at 1 p.m. Sunday at Dixie Lanes in Grayson, Kentucky. $35 per team, any combination. Four games, total pins, plus handicap. Best dressed will be awarded prize and green prizes, too.

TACKETT, JOHNSON WIN: E.J. Tackett won the men's division and Liz Johnson the women's division in the 2018 World Bowling Championships in Arlington, Texas. FS1 aired the show live last Sunday.

There were three bowlers in each division. Tackett eliminated Stuart Williams, 243-232, in the first match, then topped Anthony Simonsen, 233-232, to claim the title. Johnson, in the finals for the sixth time in eight years, beat Daria Pajak, 242-235, in the opening match and then top qualifier Danielle McEwan, 246-223, for the crown.

The men's division had its share of drama, thanks to the experimental "current frame" scoring. Tackett struck in the 10th to take down Williams. Simonsen, a two-handed righthander, relied on a backup (reverse hook) ball. He left a solid 8 pin in the 9th, made the spare and struck in the 10th. Tackett then needed a strike to win and he got it.

Pros this week took part in the PBA World Series of Bowling X in Allen Park, Michigan. The Cheetah Championship on Tuesday starts a run of four straight live shows on FS1. Airtime for each is 8 p.m. The Chameleon is Wednesday, Scorpion on Thursday and USA vs. The World and World Championship on Friday. USA vs. The World airs Friday at 5 p.m.

David Walsh covers bowling for The Herald-Dispatch. He can be reached at bigdogdown@gmail.com.

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